Brazilian middleweight Rafael Natal (17-4-1) was able to overcome TUF 17 alum Tor Troeng (16-5-1) in a back-and-forth battle on the mat in their main card fight at UFC Fight Night 28 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on Wednesday.
Natal picked up an unanimous decision victory, (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in front of his hometown fans.
Troeng had the height advantage, but Natal began landing outside leg kicks early on before catching him with an overhand right coming in. Natal worked for the half guard, trying to lock in a guillotine choke, but Troeng reversed and escaped back to his feet, landing a nice left hand to take the top position. Natal was reversed with Troeng active off his back, but another sweep from Troeng saw him again gain top control, where he ended the round.
In the opening seconds of round two, Natal dropped Troeng with a huge right hand and, after vicious ground and pound by the Brazilian, Troeng went into survival mode, but managed to take Natal's back. After Natal took back control and dominated the middle stages of the round on the top, Troeng reversed and both fighters worked in the clinch against the cage to the bell.
Coming into the final round Troeng needed a finish for victory, but Natal pulled guard while applying a guillotine choke to take the Swedish fighter back to the mat. Troeng escaped and moved into half guard. Natal reversed and worked to pass the guard of Troeng, but despite Troeng closing the fight with Natal's, it was too little too late.
The victory was Natal's third in succession and fifth of his eight-fight UFC career. After Troeng was successful in his official UFC debut in Sweden, he now drops to 1-1 in the promotion, but his toughness should see him remain competitive in the future.
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